The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a major campaign to try to cut down on the scourge of traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford oil fields, 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.
There were 3400 traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford in 2013 alone. Every sheriff's department in the region says the surge in traffic accidents is beyond their capacity to handle, and is a major problem for the oil fields. Just last month, three oilfield workers were killed when the van taking them back from a 16 hour shift rear ended a school bus.
"Drive the speed limit, stop at all traffic signs and red lights, pass carefully, and don't drive if you're drowsy, TxDOT's Laura Lopez says of the campaign.
The explosive growth of the Eagle Ford, which now has massive oilfield rigs clogging county and Farm to Market roads which were built to handle the occasional pickup truck has caused significant problems for people in the region, whether they work in the oil fields or not.
Another problem, Lopez says, is that the sheer pressure of the major build up of oilfield operations has caused speeding, reckless driving, and, particularly dangerous, drowsy driving.
"We do have a lot of roadways which are not designed specifically for the heavy traffic in that area," Lopez said.
TxDOT counts 236 fatalities due to traffic related incidents in the Eagle Ford in 2013.
"We know that many folks work all different hours," Lopez said. "Please pull over if you need to rest."
The campaign will be promoted through traditional media, social media, and community events across the Eagle Ford over the coming several months.